Understanding the decision to offshore human resource activities: a coevolutionary perspective

Understanding the decision to offshore human resource activities: a coevolutionary perspective PurposeOffshoring has been studied widely in the literature on strategic management and international business. However, apart from its consideration as an administrative activity, scant attention has been paid to the offshoring of the human resource (HR) function. Research in this regard has instead focussed on outsourcing (Reichel and Lazarova, 2013). The purpose of this paper is to achieve a better understanding of companies’ decisions to offshore HR activities. It adapts the outsourcing model of Baron and Kreps (1999) by including the HR offshoring phenomenon and a dynamic perspective.Design/methodology/approachWhile the analysis is mostly conceptual, the authors ground the author’s arguments in offshoring data from the Offshoring Research Network, to explore whether the drivers for offshoring HR differ from the drivers for offshoring other administrative activities. The idiosyncrasy of the HR function is supported by the authors’ exploratory analysis and also by the descriptive case of a multinational and its experience with offshoring.FindingsA coevolutionary model is proposed for understanding the behaviour of companies offshoring their HR activities. This study contends that companies should address their decision to offshore HR activities from a dynamic perspective, being aware of three processes that are in constant change: the evolution of the HR function, the evolution of service providers, and the evolution of offshoring decisions.Originality/valueThis study seeks to make a threefold contribution to the international business, strategy, and HR management disciplines. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management Emerald Publishing

Understanding the decision to offshore human resource activities: a coevolutionary perspective

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0960-0035
DOI
10.1108/IJPDLM-09-2015-0224
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeOffshoring has been studied widely in the literature on strategic management and international business. However, apart from its consideration as an administrative activity, scant attention has been paid to the offshoring of the human resource (HR) function. Research in this regard has instead focussed on outsourcing (Reichel and Lazarova, 2013). The purpose of this paper is to achieve a better understanding of companies’ decisions to offshore HR activities. It adapts the outsourcing model of Baron and Kreps (1999) by including the HR offshoring phenomenon and a dynamic perspective.Design/methodology/approachWhile the analysis is mostly conceptual, the authors ground the author’s arguments in offshoring data from the Offshoring Research Network, to explore whether the drivers for offshoring HR differ from the drivers for offshoring other administrative activities. The idiosyncrasy of the HR function is supported by the authors’ exploratory analysis and also by the descriptive case of a multinational and its experience with offshoring.FindingsA coevolutionary model is proposed for understanding the behaviour of companies offshoring their HR activities. This study contends that companies should address their decision to offshore HR activities from a dynamic perspective, being aware of three processes that are in constant change: the evolution of the HR function, the evolution of service providers, and the evolution of offshoring decisions.Originality/valueThis study seeks to make a threefold contribution to the international business, strategy, and HR management disciplines.

Journal

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 6, 2017

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